Fikes Generations


16 February 2012 at 03:17 - Comments

Gregson Photos

laurie-ann-edgar Phyllis Burke Gregson raygregsonsr phyllis-ray-don-1955 Laurie Gregson ray-phyllis-gregson95 phyllis-gregson-2009 ray-phyllis-1955 phyllis-gregson rayphoto_1 Phyllis, fountain raymond-phyllis-gregson-1995 Phyllis Gregson momphyllis virginia-phyllis2 virginia-phyllis-1

2 September 2014 at 07:03 - Comments

Fikes Photos

19 April 2014 at 02:42 - Comments

A thursday in april

My contribution to Throwback Thursday. Four generations: My grandma, my mom, my daughter and me, sometime in the early 1980s.

· Thursday, April 17 at 3:09pm

  • Shay SeaborneBeautiful!
  • Bill Fikes JrThrowback Thursday eh? OK, this is as far back as I can throw…

  • Helen Hegener  Always liked that one, always wondered where it was taken…
  • Jacqui McMahon  outside is my guess
  • Bill Fikes Jr  That would account for the overly shag carpet!
  • Don Burke   Mom and us kids.

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is GRANDM4-2.jpg
  • Helen HegenerRemind me again which one of those kids was Mom, Uncle Don – I think she’s the girl closest to Grandma, but I can never remember…
  • Laurie EdgarI think she is standing behind uncle Bill.
  • Helen HegenerYeah, I think you’re right, Laurie. Your mom always had much finer features… Both of them were so pretty!
  • Laurie EdgarHmmm …. I would say Bill, Don, Phyllis, Virginia but the ages are wrong.
  • Bill Fikes Jr  I always thought George, Bill, Phyllis and Virginia.
  • Laurie Edgar  Yes, maybe, and preg. with uncle Don?
  • Helen Hegener  Right, that’s who I thought they were, and I’m pretty sure it was your mom who told me that, Laurie. She said something about the car in the photo too, but I don’t remember that. It had some significance though, maybe their first car?
  • Helen Hegener  Isn’t it interesting how these old photos can become so fascinating to us decades later? I find myself studying them sometimes and wondering about the people in them. I wonder what they were doing before someone gathered them together and snapped their picture, and what they scattered to do afterwards.
19 April 2014 at 00:19 - Comments

William Alvin Burke, Rest in Peace.

Uncle Bill sent my Dad a message when we lived in France and Uncle Bill was stationed in West Germany. He got in a little trouble for it, but I’m sure he thought it was worth it, and it may have been one of the first actual emails. Uncle Bill worked in a US Army Cryptanalysis bunker and had a state of the art telex message system, the one that would receive the flash message from the President to the US Forces in Europe if there were to suddenly be a war. Dad worked in a US Army Computer Center in Poiters, France, where they also happened to have a telex machine. Uncle Bill had a Top secret clearance, and dad had a Top Secret Clearance, so Uncle Bill sent his Brother in Law a message over the US Army Telex system. His superiors were not amused.
That was around 1962 or 3, around the same time Uncle Bill started teaching me to play Chess. A few years and a few thousand miles later in Northern California Uncle Bill took me out looking for Redwood Burls around the hills surrounding Gurneville, Ca., we spent an entire day hiking up draws and over ridges, avoiding wild Pigs and either cutting burls or marking redwood roots so they would have burls the next time he came up that creek bottom in a few years. We took dozens of Burls back to Los Angeles and I made a killing selling mine in Safeway parking lots, Uncle Bill made his share selling them in Bars and upscale florist shops around LA. I learned how to read contour lines, judge slopes, range distances, pace my self and many other things that would serve me well later following Uncle Bill up and down those hills.
A few years later he took me out drinking with him around the Russian River villages, I was not really old enough yet but that didn’t seem to bother him and nobody asked, my being “Wild Bill’s” Nephew. Not even the Town Cop, who’s car he stopped at and relieved himself onto the drivers seat before going into the cafe and telling the Cop he had just done so. Uncle Bill had a pair, there was never any doubt about that. The dawn found us again high in the Redwood hills, somewhere around the time the bars started closing Uncle Bill decided he was too drunk to drive and turned the duty over to me.
Not long after that I beat him for the first time in a game of Chess between us. He had taught me well and I beat him badly with a carefully crafted trap. He sulked and refused to play me for days.We talked about ancient Astronauts, Astral travel, mind reading and things that I wouldn’t hear anyone else talking about until years later. We laughed and fought and and got drunk and after I introduced him to Pot smoked our heads off a few times. He got me interested in Family History, showed me how to prospect for Gold, how to pick up a deck of cards at the 26th card almost every time and how to pick up girls in bar, even if the girls were old enough to be in the bar and I wasn’t and he always seemed to me one of the rare larger then life people you meet occasionally in life.Uncle Bill passed away after a battle with Cancer tonight. My thoughts and prayers are with him and all those that knew and loved him, knew and hated him or just knew him and didn’t know what the hell to make of him, because he was one of the originals.

24 May 2012 at 23:43 - Comments

Guntharich III, Born 293, location unknown

16 February 2012 at 03:42 - Comments

One Foggy Morning

by Don Burke on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 12:27pm

One Foggy Morning

When my brother Bill and I were boys we knew every trail on every mountain within ten miles of home, home being the beautiful Del Prete “Ranch of the Roses” below the tailing pile of the Sonoma County Quicksilver mine near Guerneville, California. This story begins one very early, very foggy Spring morning. Bill and I loaded our guns, and set off over the Madrone Ridge heading North East into some beautiful and rugged country between the ranch and Armstrong Woods State Park. We crossed over the saddle gap and dropped down into the next canyon barely after daybreak. As we crossed the open fields we could only see about a hundred yards through the dense morning fog that was rising from the damp ground.

We really didn’t have any plan or even know what we were hunting for, it was just another day long hike, like we often took. We had heard and seen signs of a mountain lion in seasons past, so we usually carried Bill’s lever action 25/20 and my 22 caliber handgun. We crossed the creek and started up the last steep mountain that separated the privately owned land from the State Park to the West. We knew of a hunting cabin about half way up the mountain, so we headed that way. Climbing out of a deep gully we followed a ridge which began to level out. As we began to step over a large fallen tree the woods were filled with the sound of squealing pigs. There must have close to dozen of them. A large shaggy wild boar with a black and white sow and around ten of the cutest little piglets I`d ever seen. I was so startled that I stumbled backward nearly falling, and by the time I looked back they were out of sight. Even if we had seen them first, we wouldn’t have shot them, they were too cute. It was just another hundred yards or so to Nin’s old summer cabin. We were looking around a log pile near the cabin when Bill nearly stepped on a large rattlesnake. He quickly pulled out his large bowie knife and threw it at the rattler which was right under him, killing it. If he had missed, he would have been bitten for sure. Since that was the only thing we killed that day, I guess you could say we were hunting rattlesnakes.

Having had enough adventure for any day, we headed home laughing about the wild scene of the squealing pigs running every which way.

1 January 2012 at 13:10 - Comments

Curly’s Gold – The Mouse House

Curly’s Gold

by Don Burke on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 11:29am
It all started with brother George and his barber Curly. I suppose barbers
hear a lot of interesting stories and according to Curly, an old timer
sitting in his barber chair told him of finding a gold nugget in the stream
bed of one of the creeks that fed down into Russian Gulch on the rugged North
Sonoma Coast. When George told my brother Bill and I, it sparked a vision of
adventure and riches; perhaps a vein of gold in a rocky bank of quartz. We
gathered our camping gear, bought a topo map of the area and set off to find
the gold. We drove to the nearest point along Hwy. 1, locked the car and
shouldered our backpacks.

We hiked up and down two of the steep rugged canyons, finding a beautiful
5-tiered waterfall with huge ferns and moss covered cliffs, but no gold. I
remember we were panning for color in the stream of the third canyon and
finding only the shimmer of mica flakes, when a sudden rain storm started
pouring down on us. We grabbed our gear and sought shelter under the nearby
trees. The rain lessened, but was not going away soon. We checked our topo
map and saw that there was some kind of building up the mountain to the north
of us. Unoccupied cabins were common in the hills around here, so we set off
to find shelter from the rain, and a place to spend the night.
After climbing for a mile or two we came around a corner to see a large old

house with an orchard and shed nearby. We needed to dry our clothes and get
warm, so we checked the door and found it unlocked. As I recall we entered
into a sun porch room with what appeared to be numerous doll houses along the
inside wall. The large living room had a big stuffed chair and sofa in front
of a rock fireplace. We went from room to room to be sure no one was
currently living there. As we backtracked our way toward the living room, we
re-entered one room that had been empty moments before to find an raccoon
carcass blocking the door as it opened.

It was getting dark and we needed to start a fire, so we lit some candles,
unpacked a flashlight and went outside in search of wood. The best way to
spot animals at night is by holding the flashlight up at eye level. That’s
what Bill did when we saw the eyes of a large cat in an apple tree about
thirty yards away. We knew it was large because of the wide set eyes that
flashed back at us as it jumped to the ground. It was most likely a bobcat or
small mountain lion. We took the wood we had found and retreated to the
safety of the house. We had a pistol at the ready if we had needed it. With a
warm fire burning we ate the food we had brought and unrolled our sleeping
bags. I remember we discussed how strange it was that someone had placed
mouse traps in the doll houses, as we went to sleep listening for the sound
of the large cat outside.
The next morning was clear and sunny as we hiked back out to the road, richer
and wiser by our adventure.

    • Don Burke I just thought someone might find this little story interesting. Brother Bill can probably fill in a lot of details I might have overlooked. P.S. The waterfall was spectacular!

      April 27 at 12:03pm ·
    • Helen Hegener Wonderful tale… I can just see you two hiking around out there having a grand old time! But so many questions! Dollhouses? With mousetraps in them? Did you ever find out anything about the place? And did you ever find any gold in them thar hills?

      April 27 at 12:15pm ·
    • Don Burke I learned that sometimes the treasure is in the quest.
      Bill will have to fill in the blanks and write chapter two.

      April 27 at 12:45pm ·
    • William A. Burke The Mouse House, Great story I`ll post part 2 later tonight….

      April 27 at 1:47pm ·
    • Helen Hegener Awesome! Just totally awesome, looking forward to part three from Billy!

Curlys Gold… part 2

by William A. Burke on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 3:38pm
Brother George was a Forest Ranger, stationed at Cazadero. Curly “The Barber” and brother
George were both avid trout fishermen and good friends. One day George and Curly were talking
and he told brothe rGeorge of a gold discovery he found in the area while trout fishing. He pulled out a
piece of Jasper which was heavily laced with gold. He told Brother George he had discovered it while
digging for worms on a hill next to the creek. Curly said he had seen a vein about two inches wide
running up the hill. Unfortunately, he died a week after telling my brother about it. Curly never got
a chance to show the vein to my brother.
All we knew was that it had to be near Cazadero. I heard about it while at home on leave .

When I went back to Germany I started taking extension courses in Mineralogy and Geology from
the University of Maryland. When I got home from Europe after my tour of duty, I was prepared to
find Curly’s lost gold mine. Brother Don and I panned in the area where we thought it might be and
found some color but it wasn’t significant. I had brought some topo maps of the area with me and in
reviewing them discovered that there was some sort of old structure nearby. We wanted to camp in the
area anyway and figured that this might be a good place to do so. We did find it and much to our
surprise, it was a beautiful old abandoned hunting lodge. It was really a neat old place but kind of
strange too. We went in and it seemed that the people who lived there had just disappeared. The
kitchen table was set for breakfast and there was a calender on the wall from 1939.

I looked at Don and said, “I know where we’re spending the night”. There was a big beautiful rock
fireplace there and we went out to get some firewood. By this time it was dark. We had a flashlight
and a Colt 45 with only two rounds in it. We were outside gathering wood and I got a funny feeling.
I turned around and saw two green eyes about twenty feet away in the darkness. It appeared that
the eyes turned away and when they turned back they were bright red. It was really spooky.

I had a gun, as I said before, but I just told Don to head for the lodge, pronto. I did the same and
actually passed him up scrambling back to the house. We could hear the weird noises which kinda
sounded like a deep growling all night. We went around the house and made sure all the
windows were closed up. I thought there was some kind of red-eyed monster out there. While making
sure the place was buttoned up, I opened the interior flap of the wood box and there was a mounted
buck’s head staring at me. Talk about a scare. It took me years to figure out what the “growling” was.
It was actually the sound of the ocean crashing on the beach about five miles down the canyon from
the lodge. The eyes I saw, I believe were those of a mountain lion but at the time it was really weird.

Another strange thing was that in every corner of the lodge were these doll houses that were set up
for mice. There were little food troughs in them where we found bits of grain and a bunch of dead
mice. We got out of there the next morning highly spooked. About ten or twelve years later, my
longtime friend Dave Beech told me about a guy that was raising Silver Salmon in rearing ponds. Dave
said the location of this fish farm sounded like the story I told him about the Mouse House. The guys’
name was Tom Finn. Dave introduced us. Tom describes this place where he planed to set up this fish
farm “an old abandoned mountain lodge”. Well, what a funny co-incidence. I asked him if I could see it
and he agreed saying, “I’m going there tomorrow”. Sure enough, when we went out the next morning,
he took us to the same place brother Don and I had discovered years before. I told Tom about my
experience there. Tom and I became friends and I ended up running the fish farm for him. I moved up
there and lived in the old lodge. Never did find any Gold…. And when I needed help on the project..

Lets let “Billy L. Fikes Jr” go on to part 3

    • Don Burke This is great! I had forgotten many of the details. I knew you could help this story get rolling. Now you say that Billy was also involved??? Jump in here Billy!

      April 27 at 3:21pm ·
    • William A. Burke And guess what we burnt when we ran out of firewood,,,?
      The little mouse house`s kept us warm all night…..

      April 27 at 6:08pm ·
    • Helen Hegener Wow… I’ve been hearing references to this “mouse house” for as long as I can remember, and always wondered about the backstory… And now the tale jumps to… Billy? Whoa…

      April 28 at 10:51am ·
    • Don Burke One of my favorite mysteries in this story is “why did the owners go to such care to house the mice then kill them off?” Was it the old adage “build a better mouse trap”? If so they should get the award. Perhaps a spouse died and the remaining spouse did not share the same obsession.

      April 28 at 12:36pm ·
    • Don Burke Perhaps the remaining spouse had a suicide pact with the mice and shared a last meal of “tainted” corn flakes.

      April 28 at 12:43pm ·

Curlys Gold. part 3

by Billy L. Fikes Jr on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 2:29pm
I arrived at the “Mouse House” in the summer of 1977 and about the only thing I can add to the story is that one night Uncle Bill and I were deeply engaged in a Chess match when suddenly the board and all the chess men erupted off the table between us. While my head was not in what one would call a normal place at the time I was there, I tend to remember the place in an “Amityville” sort of way.
  • Lee Smith and Helen Hegener like this.
    • Don Burke When I first entered the house I felt it held a mystery. I think we can all agree on that.

      April 28 at 2:40pm ·
    • William A. Burke

      Oh Yeah, I always felt the presence of a lonely old lady there,– She had made pets of the mice and the sad part was that the grain she had fed them was alike the rat
      poison I found in the cupboard — The Place Was Haunted
      But beautiful an…d the waterfall only a short stroll away was
      Awesome ice cold drinking water….See More
      April 28 at 3:38pm ·
    • Don Burke So did Tom Finn know any history of the house?

      April 28 at 5:17pm ·
    • William A. Burke The Mouse House was built as a hunting lodge around the turn of the century, it had gas lights and sat vacant after the 30s until Anita and I lived there in the late 70s allot of weird things happened late at night after we blew the candles out….Wooooooooooo….

      April 28 at 6:08pm ·
    • Don Burke You said it had gas lights. I think I recall seeing gas light fixtures on the walls. Did it ever get electricity? What about water and plumbing? And did it ever get operating as a fish hatchery?

    • William A. Burke I never connected the Gas light system..I rigged up a 12 volt system and used kerosene lamps and candles, there was a spring on the hill in back of the house and a huge holding tank which required a bit of work to get functioning.. We got the project up and operating but soon after that Finn and I had a falling out, the guy who replaced me as project director used gasoline to start a fire in the fireplace…Today all thats left is a rock fireplace and a pile of charcoal remains.

      April 29 at 9:20am ·
    • Don Burke Perhaps the spirits there were finally able to rest peacefully.

7 November 2010 at 14:11 - Comments

Into the Earth, an Alaskan Gold Mine adventure

by Billy L. Fikes Jr on Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 6:41pm
Hatcher Pass was one of the largest gold mining areas in Alaska, and there are still operating mines in the area. The “Hatcher Pass Mine” was closed many decades ago and the shafts sealed off, but there are still other, smaller mines in the area that are just abandoned.
The Lucky Shot Mine is one of those, it was an operating mine into the 1940’s when the operators just shut down and left. 252,000 ounces of gold extracted made it the largest producing mine in the area (total combined with adjacent War Baby mine)
The entrance to the mine was guarded by a large steel door, big enough to allow trucks and tractors access, but it was left open and you could walk into the mine entrance. Once inside you were faced with a block of Ice that reached almost to the high ceiling. Several of my nephews, a wife or two, my Brother, a friend and I climbed the ice and crawled on our bellies several hundred feet until the cold air at the entrance met the warm air for the depths of the mine and the ice block ended. We were now standing in a large shaft with a ceiling perhaps 15 feet high. We made our way down the gentle grade for a ways until we came to side shafts, some of which held explosive shacks with suspect looking piles of rotting material I can only assume were old dynamite. Cases beside them held blasting caps, adding to the assumption that these were indeed piles of “melted” explosives. Knowing that old dynamite bleeds out nitro we avoided these potentially hazardous blobs.
We found a couple large pools that had been built to contain seepage, both large enough to be respectable swimming pools. The water looked clean but we did not taste test it. The mine had shafts that wound around and doubled back into the main shaft and some that just dead ended, on in a mud pool, after a while the slope increased dramatically and a narrow gauge rail bed ran down the center of the shaft. For perhaps 1/2 mile the mine dropped dramatically until it finally leveled out again. The walls in these lower levels showed signs of being worked much more recently than the higher levels, and the side shafts were all much smaller in length, mostly just rooms. As we continued our descent we came to an area where we were no longer in a carved mine, but were now moving among fracture zones, some held open by huge rotting timbers, some just crawl spaces dropping ever further into the mountain.
We found one shaft that we guessed must link into the Hatcher Pass Mine on the other side of the mountain, we had come far enough that if the other mine went as deep as this one they should have met somewhere down there according to our guestimations.
We were lucky, we didn’t cause any caveins, find any gas pockets or any of the multitude of other ills that could have befallen us, like having an earthquake occur while we were in the depths of the earth.
It has been over seven years since we made our way down into the mine, so even if there were trespassing considerations the time to bring prosecution has gone by, and someone put a nice new high security steel door and lock that would take a blow torch to get through so there is no danger of any other foolish children trying to repeat our escapades. There were of course air vents but the dedication it would take to search them out without knowing their location make the likelihood of someone using them to gain access quite remote.
I admire the men that made their fortunes by spending their days in the depths of darkness, braving death every day to extract the gold held deep in the Mountain.

    • Don Burke Good story! I’m fascinated by caves, but old mines are death traps. In the AZ desert I’ve heard there are a lot of abandoned mine shafts covered by old boards, that claim lives every year.

      April 30 at 8:16am ·
    • Deborah Collins Excellent! Thank you.
7 November 2010 at 13:59 - Comments

My UFO Story

by Don Burke on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 5:38pm

When I was a boy growing up, I was probably 12 or so, myself and a friend were walking into town, probably to see a movie. It was almost dark out and we were taking a shortcut across the school ground field. We had been running and stopped to fall down in the grass to rest, looking up into the night sky we saw something I have never been able to explain. Directly above us, high in the sky, was a large stationery circular object with lights around the perimeter. That didn’t seem to strange, but all around it were small lighted objects coming and going at a very high speed.

We didn’t think it was alien at the time. I think we thought they were military aircraft of some kind. We watched for a few minutes then got up and continued into town to catch the start of the movie.

It wasn’t until several years later that I recalled the event and realized that we had seen a UFO, like a mother ship with small scout crafts around it.

I still don’t know if I really believe in alien spacecrafts from other worlds, but I know what I saw and I have never seen anything like it since that night so long ago.


    • Don Burke Has anyone else seen anything like this?

      4 hours ago ·
    • Maureen Morgan

      Not like that, but yes I’ve seen UFO’s, and the first one was 1948. I as in the 4th grade in Harrison, Arkansas. We were having supper when we heard other people outside. They were looking at the sky.
      A big orb was hanging up there and it sl…owly moved to the left in the sky then suddenly zipped off to the right up into the higher heavens and disappeared. Another one I saw was as we were coming out of Phantom Canyon in Canyon City There were some mesas strung along the highway to Colorao Springs. We were touring with a couple from Wisconsin. I noticed something hovering above one of the plateaus. They all looked them we pulled off the road and just watched it sitting there for several minutes. It just hovered and
      looked just like the one I saw in Harrison in 1948, but this was
      1963. After a few minutes we just left and discussed it all the way home. I’ve certainly have never forgotten. Whatever these things are, I bellieve in them.See More
      4 hours ago ·
    • Don Burke What if they weren’t aliens, but time travelers from Earth’s future? Maybe it’s a vacation option for them, “just don’t interfere with the populous.”
    • Maureen Morgan

      Who cares, they haven’t done anything we know of. Left us alone.
      They could be aliens, angels, or demons. Whatever they are they’ve
      been here since people have – according to ancient drawings. The pyraminds were probably partly built by th…e giants of that time or even the help of angels and demons. Who knows. And Easter Island too they are that old. Before God looked away many things could have occured here on Earth – in the day He actually talked to people.See More
    • William A. Burke I saw one when we were kids up at the ranch by the mine.. It was shaped like a huge flying wing with smaller craft entering and leaving it from the backside…it was shortly after sunset but it was so high it was in bright daylight and appeared to be silver colored and HUGE..

    • Billy L. Fikes Jr

      I think perhaps it was we that looked away Maureen. That said, the first one I saw was in Southern Ariz. in 1965, shortly before we left for Alaska. It was a green fireball that was hovering out over the desert. Scared the bejezuz outa the …big brave ranch dogs that couldn’t even see it, made the phones go dead, it sent a beam down to the ground, then zipped away in an instant.If they are Aliens we need to assume that there are more than one species, which holds with common UFO lore. The differing ships could be due to vastly different time periods coming back to observe or perhaps alter the past. (how would we know?)

      There have been groups of Orbs sighted, and groups of triangles sighted, but no mixed groups that i know of, so perhaps they are the Angels and Demons of lore, in some sort of cold war with the earth as a neutral zone.

      I hold with the combination of dimensional travelers (I think we will find that shifting radical dimensions is easier then bisecting timelines) and Aliens, and, oh yea, I talked with a couple of them one day…but that’s another story.

    • Helen Hegener I clearly remember the green fireball in Arizona. We lived in a huge old rock house that had been a stagecoach stop back in the 1800’s, but that house was shaking and vibrating all the time the fireball was in view. And the dogs were definitely scared, and so were we…

7 November 2010 at 06:30 - Comments